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Our view

The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future
DANIEL KAHNEMAN – Author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Changing the Conversation
21st Club presents a collection of insights for football club boardrooms

Changing the Conversation

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  • 08 Nov 2018

    No shame in 2nd

    Wherever you look in Europe, there are newly-promoted teams who are impressing in the highest division. In England, Wolves already look set to challenge for a top-half finish. The Austrian Bundesliga has been lit up by TSV Hartberg’s enterprising approach in their first-ever top-flight season. And in Norway, Ranheim are sixth having been as high […]

  • 01 Nov 2018

    The body count

    If you can’t count what’s important, you make what you can count important
    In Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic 10-part, 17-hour Vietnam War documentary series, retired army officer James Willbank succinctly summed up the approach senior officials took to measuring the success of military operations. By body count, the US were winning the war, and […]

  • 25 Oct 2018

    The decline of the superclubs

    One of the major narratives of the 2018/19 European football season is the mixed results of the continent’s superclubs: Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid. After a decade of dominance in the Champions League, none of the three are favourites for the competition, and they have collectively amassed 1.8 points per game domestically, 25% down […]

  • 18 Oct 2018

    Liberal football

    We all know that culture matters. It’s not as easy to quantify – either objectively or subjectively – as talent, but we know that at the margins it can make a difference between winning and losing.

    It feels right that culture can also influence the way in which we play too. Directors at clubs have often […]

  • 11 Oct 2018

    The finest Belgian chocolate

    In the months after a World Cup, we tend to adapt our view as to where the world’s talent hotspots are. It was therefore no surprise that after Russia we’ve all been keen to understand what differentiates the production lines of France, Belgium and Croatia. For some clubs, their recent success provides a good justification […]

  • 04 Oct 2018

    Caught offside

    In the midst of a season, it can be hard to think about our club’s strategy in the context of a changing sport. Saturday’s result, somewhat understandably, is the priority.

    Nevertheless, developments like FIFA’s transfer market reforms help bring into focus how we as a club over the coming years should be strategising on areas such […]

  • 27 Sep 2018

    Benjamin Button FC

    We normally take an interest in teams with young squads for the purposes of player recruitment. Clubs like FC Nordsjaelland, for example, have gained reputations for being hotspots for young talents in mid-tier leagues.

    It can also be interesting to look at the coaches of these teams – managing a young team requires different skills to […]

  • 20 Sep 2018

    Corpses on Everest

    There is an internet meme which simply reads: “Every corpse on Mount Everest was once an extremely motivated person”.

    While parodying motivational posters, it is also – probably unintentionally – an insight into the fallacy of analysing success. An analysis of people who successfully scaled Mount Everest, for example, might reveal a list of common […]

  • 13 Sep 2018

    Head of tactics

    There are three main ways in which a head coach/manager can improve a team:

    Improve the squad through transfers
    Improve individual players through coaching
    Get better performance from the same set of players through tactics

    Traditionally, managers have accumulated all three of these functions. However, there is no particular reason a single person should be in […]

  • 07 Sep 2018

    Apples with caviar

    How do we know that we’re doing a good job?

    Talk to most CEOs in listed companies and they will tell you that the company’s share price is the ultimate barometer of their performance. Business strategy is therefore often in service to the share price as it provides the clearest and quickest affirmation of success.

    Our equivalent in […]